Black Sticky Rice Pudding Recipe – Gluten Free, Vegan, Yum!

black sticky rice

“I like rice. Rice is great if you’re hungry and want 2000 of something. ”
~ Mich Ehrenborg

 

This is truly one of those comfort-in-a-bowl dishes. Black sticky rice pudding is popular in Thailand and parts of Asia. It can be eaten warm or cold, and makes a delicious dessert, but it’s equally good for breakfast or as a snack.

To serve I use a splodge of coconut cream or coconut yogurt, some fresh seasonal fruit, and sometimes a handful of nuts or seeds as well. It’s endlessly versatile.

Black sticky rice pudding is a great recipe – gluten free, dairy free, vegan and full of fibre, anti-oxidants and nurture-y goodness.  Black rice is a source of amino acids, iron, zinc, copper and according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is great for supporting and nurturing the liver and kidneys, two organs/energy centres that get very depleted during times of stress, illness or depression.  It’s great food for people with burnout or adrenal fatigue as it is warm and easy to digest.  Coconut is also good for low thyroid function and boosting slow metabolisms.

I usually make double this quantity and keep some in the fridge.  I reheat in a saucepan with a little extra water, but if you are a microwave user, I guess you could go there…

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Ingredients

1 cup of black glutinous rice (you can find this in most Asian grocery stores or good supermarkets), 2.5 cups of water, 2 tablespoons palm sugar or soft brown sugar, salt, vanilla essence, 1 cup of coconut milk/cream

Note – If you are sugar-free use Natvia, stevia or your favourite sugar substitute.

Method

Soak the rice overnight (or at least 6 hours)  in the water in a ceramic or glass dish. It’s really important to soak your rice well, so please don’t skimp on that part of the cooking process. The water will go a nice shade of purple – try not to get it on you as it will stain some fabrics. Many people suggest you discard the soaking water, rinse and start over, but then you’d lose many of the minerals and anti-oxidants that have leached from the water overnight.

Transfer to a suitable saucepan and place on the heat.  Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, and then reduce the heat to low, and cover.  Cook for a further half an hour to forty-five minutes, until the rice is soft and the mixture has thickened.  You need to play this by ear a bit, as you might need to add a little more water and cook longer. It all depends on the rice.

Add a pinch of salt and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of  coconut milk/cream, then sugar to taste. Add in a splash of vanilla essence too. I use about 2 heaped tablespoons of palm sugar, but if you prefer it sweeter, add more.  Stir occasionally over the next ten minutes until the rice is thick and pudding like. (I sometimes omit the coconut milk as a variation, which gives a nuttier flavour.)

Cool slightly and then serve in bowls with the remaining coconut milk/cream drizzled over the top.  Sliced banana or tropical fruits such as papaya or mango are also good.  In winter I may use berries.  Right now I am using a big dollop of coconut yoghurt (yoghurt made on coconut milk!) from a company called Co Yo, which is divine.

If I have made a less-sweet pudding, I will sometimes also add a sprinkle of palm sugar or a dash of maple syrup when serving.

Enjoy ♥

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sticky rice pudding

 

 

Coconut Rice Pudding with Banana

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“And to this end they built themselves a stupendous super-computer which was so amazingly intelligent that even before its data banks had been connected up it had started from I think therefore I am and got as far as deducing the existence of rice pudding and income tax before anyone managed to turn it off.”

~ Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

 

This is an easy and delicious pudding for people who need to eat gluten and dairy-free, but who still enjoy the occasional dessert. The pudding can also be easily made sugar-free too.

It is perfectly scrumptious served with just a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg on top, but fresh banana slices and a drizzle of maple syrup make it out-of-this-world good.

Ingredients

400g coconut cream, 600ml water, 1 scant cup of uncooked white rice if jasmine or basmati or 3/4 cup of shortgrain rice (shortgrain rice has more starch and thickens better), 2 tablespoons of sugar or sugar substitute – I use Natvia (or to taste), 1 teaspoon of vanilla, pinch of salt, nutmeg or cinnamon, fresh banana and maple syrup to serve.

*note – if using brown rice use 3/4 cup, extend cooking time, and you may need to add a little more liquid

Method:

Place the coconut cream, water, sugar or sugar substitute, pinch of salt, vanilla and rice in a heavy-bottomed saucepan on the stove, over medium heat. Stir occasionally as you bring the liquid to a strong simmer (lots of bubbles but not boiling), turn down to a low simmer (just a few bubbles on the surface) and then cook for twenty to thirty minutes on low heat or until the rice is soft and most of the liquid has been absorbed or reduced. Stir every so often so that the rice doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pot and burn.  Pudding should be thick and creamy.

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Place in bowls.

To serve plain, add just a sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon.

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For best results top with slices of fresh ripe banana and a little drizzle of maple syrup.

Can also be eaten cold. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to three days.

This is so, so yummy and good.

Enjoy!

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Chilled Coconut Soup with Tapioca and Rockmelon

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“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.”
~ Ruth Reichl

 

Many years ago, when my sister and I were sharing a house, we’d sometimes venture out for dinner to a little Asian Restaurant in Market Square at Sunnybank. Our restaurant of choice was called Gourmet Court – a cheerful and cheap eating place, which was good because neither of us had any money back then! None of the staff spoke English, and the menu was all in Mandarin, but it did have a helpful photo for each dish. We would always point to what we wanted, smile profusely, and then mime drinking tea. Somehow, this crazy system always seemed to work for us. The tables were covered in red and white checked plastic tablecloths and little vases of fake flowers which was the only decor beside the lucky cat at the till.

Simone and I were always the only Caucasians in the place, and we looked out of place with our pale skin and long blonde hair. At first that felt uncomfortable but we were treated so well that we came to love going there. After we became regulars the owners would usually bring us a complimentary dessert at the end of our meal. In winter it was a plate of sliced fresh fruit, but when the temperature warmed up they brought out this unusual dish – a cold, sweet coconut ‘soup’ with tapioca pearls (made from a form of root vegetable called cassava) and freshly diced rockmelon. It was our complete favourite; cool, refreshing and delicious.

Gourmet Court no longer exists, but I’ve found a way to recreate our old favourite dish! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. An added bonus is that it’s gluten-free,  and dairy-free. I also make mine sugar-free now too, using a sugar substitute. The tapioca/coconut milk mixture will keep in the fridge for five days, if it lasts that long.

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Ingredients:

1 x cup of small tapioca pearls, 2 x cups of coconut cream, 2 cups of water, a pinch of salt, 1/2 cup of sugar or equivalent (I use natvia!), one rockmelon (cantaloupe)

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Method:

Add the coconut cream, water, salt and sugar to a saucepan and stir well over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.

Soak the tapioca for twenty minutes in cold water, then drain in a colander. Bring two litres (8 cups) of water to the boil in a large pot, and add the drained tapioca pearls. Stir well so nothing sticks to the bottom, and keep stirring every so often. Bring back to the boil and then reduce heat to medium and cook for 12 to 15 minutes. Turn off heat, cover and let sit for another fifteen minutes. Then rinse well under cold water to stop the cooking process. The pearls should be mostly translucent and jelly-like with perhaps a few white spots still in the middle. Be careful not to overcook, or the tapioca will turn to mush.

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Add the tapioca pearls to the cooled coconut mixture and refrigerate until needed. The pearls will swell a little more with the coconut milk, and will provide a nice chewy texture.

To serve ladle the ‘soup’ and pearls into a serving bowl and then add a generous portion of freshly diced rockmelon to the top. I served mine to Ben and the workmen here at the farm as a post-lunch treat, after they’d spent the morning slaving away repairing fences in the heat. It was soon devoured!

The rest became breakfast this morning. 🙂

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Note – this is also delicious served with freshly sliced banana, mango or strawberries.

Persian Love Cake Recipe #glutenfree

persian love cake

“You’ve got this life and while you’ve got it, you’d better kiss like you only have one moment, try to hold someone’s hand like you will never get another chance to, look into people’s eyes like they’re the last you’ll ever see, watch someone sleeping like there’s no time left, jump if you feel like jumping, run if you feel like running, play music in your head when there is none, and eat cake like it’s the only one left in the world!”
~ C. JoyBell C.

 

I wanted to make a special cake to mark my 30 Year Anniversary of having Lyme disease. I’m celebrating all that I have learned, all that I have survived, and all that is now unfolding in front of me. Plus… cake! Do you ever really need a reason?

This is a simple cake to make, but it looks and tastes fancy. Perfect for a celebration! It has those beautiful Persian spices – including cardamom and orange blossom – which give a distinctive exotic flavour, and it is gluten-free. The base is sugary crisp, and the filling is light and not too rich. With a few easy substitutions this cake can also be made dairy-free if needed.

If you don’t have orange blossom water, you can omit or substitute for rose-water. It will still taste delicious. You can buy orange blossom water at many supermarkets, delicatessens, Asian or Indian grocers and even health food stores.

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Ingredients:

3 cups of almond meal, 1 cup of raw (demerara) sugar, 1 cup of soft brown sugar – lightly packed, 1/2 cup (125g) soft unsalted butter, 2 eggs, 1 cup of natural yoghurt, 1 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon orange blossom water, 1/2 cup pistachio nuts

1 x baking-paper lined 26cm springform (10 inch) pan.

Method:

Preheat oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit). Prepare your cake tin.

Place the almond meal, sugars and butter in a large bowl.

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Rub the butter through the dry ingredients until it resembles soft crumbs.

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Press half of the crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of the springform pan. You could use the back of a spoon but I think that clean hands work just as well!

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Lightly beat the two eggs. Add the beaten eggs, spices, orange blossom water and yoghurt to the remaining crumb mix. Stir together well.

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Pour onto the crumb base. Sprinkle roughly chopped pistachios around the outside of the cake.

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Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cake will not be quite firm. That’s okay – it will firm up as it cools. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from tin.

To serve, accompany the Persian Love Cake with some more yoghurt or a good ice-cream.

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Variations: If you are following a dairy-free diet, this can also be made with a vegetable spread substitute for the butter. You could use a soy or coconut yoghurt too. I’ve made these variations before and they were still delicious, although the coconut yoghurt adds an additional flavour which changes the taste of the cake (but not in a bad way!)

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Zucchini Bread Recipe – Gluten free, dairy free, sugar free

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“When I pass a flowering zucchini plant in a garden, my heart skips a beat.” ~ Gwyneth Paltrow

 

I should have titled this post The Great Zucchini Loaf Challenge! I have a friend who is always telling me that they positively hate zucchini. This friend last ate zucchini thirty years ago at boarding school. They tell me often that it is a waste of a vegetable, that it tastes like soggy watery nothing and that no-one in their right mind should enjoy it. Boarding school ruined many culinary experiences for my very food-unadventurous friend.

However, I have witnessed this same friend gorging on stuffed deep-fried zucchini flowers with no idea what they were eating! They maintain that they positively hate beetroot but once gobbled down almost an entire chocolate beetroot cake I’d made. When I explained that beetroot was the main ingredient they just shrugged their shoulders and smiled as they stuffed the last crumbs into their mouth. I knew they’d eat zucchini in a cake, so I decided to bake some zucchini bread to prove my point.

But I’m back on my Lyme drugs, and following a fairly strict diet. It seemed so unfair that I would make a delicious cake that I then couldn’t eat! So I have modified the ingredients so that this cake is healthy, delicious and suitable for people like me who are on restricted diets. Let me assure you that the modifications in no way limited the yumminess.

Some people don’t like the taste of gluten-free flours, but the spices and flavourings I’ve added totally mask them. This cake is moist, flavoursome, full of nutritional value and so scrummy that people who cringe at the words ‘gluten-free’, let alone ‘sugar-free’, shall chomp it all up in happy oblivion.

As predicted, my zucchini-loathing friend adored this recipe and even asked if I could make it for them again once they knew what was in it!

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Ingredients:

1 cup of plain gluten-free flour mix, 1/2 cup of almond meal, 3 teaspoons of baking powder (I use Wards, which is gluten-free),1 cup of grated raw zucchini, 1/2 cup of finely chopped walnuts, finely grated zest of one lime and 1 tablespoon of lime juice (a lemon can be substituted), 3 heaped tablespoons of Natvia or your favourite sugar substitute (if you are happy to use sugar use 2/3 to 1 cup of raw sugar – to your taste), 2 large eggs (vegans – use your favourite egg substitute or 1/2 cup of mashed banana), 1/3 cup of oil of your choice (olive, coconut, rice-bran, vegetable etc), 1/4 cup of coconut milk (or soy, almond etc), pinch of good quality salt (I like pink Himalayan), 1 heaped teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 heaped teaspoon of turmeric powder, 1 level teaspoon of ginger powder, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or paste.

Notes: If you need this recipe to be tree-nut free just use more gluten-free flour instead of the almond meal, and omit the walnuts. A nice variation would be to replace the walnuts with finely chopped dried apricots.

The lime tang is quite prominent in this recipe. If you don’t like a citrus flavour swap the lime or lemon out and use an extra tablespoon of coconut (or your favourite) milk.

You can also make this recipe with conventional wheat flour if you prefer.

Method:

Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Line a loaf tin (23cm x 12cm – 9 inch x 5 inch) with baking paper.

Place the flour, baking powder, almond meal, walnuts and spices in a large bowl and mix well to combine.

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Put the grated zucchini in some paper kitchen towel and gently press the liquid out of it, then place it into another large bowl. Add the natvia or sugar, the two eggs, the oil, vanilla, lime zest and juice, and the coconut (or other) milk. Stir until well combined.

Now add the wet mix to the dry mixture and stir well to combine. The mixture will look quite wet. Don’t panic.

The picture below shows my wet mix BEFORE I added turmeric, which was a last-minute flash of inspiration.

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Pour the mixture into your prepared tin. (See what a gorgeous colour the turmeric gives the batter!)

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Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake springs back lightly when pressed in the centre, and a skewer inserted in cake comes out clean.

Cool in tin for five minutes, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully.

Serve with a mug of your favourite beverage. The bread will keep for about a week (if it lasts that long) and toasts well after it is a day old.

You could get fancy and ice or glaze the zucchini bread, or serve it buttered (or use your usual non-dairy spread). It is also lovely served slightly warm with a dollop of yogurt or coconut cream. Enjoy! 🙂

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Apple, Pear and Chia Seed Warm Pudding Recipe

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“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” ~Ernestine Ulmer

 

I came home to our farm last night, too exhausted to cook dinner.

Problem was, I was hungry.

The thought of a salad, or anything cold and raw was completely off-putting. I needed warmth and nurture.

Solution? A lovely bowl of warm pudding – healthy and delicious but creamy and sweet enough to feel like an indulgence. This easy-to-digest meal is gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. Perfect for those with dietary restrictions, to tempt a fussy eater or for someone who’s unwell. And the coolest thing about this recipe is that it makes an outstanding breakfast too!

The apple and pear give sweetness and texture to this comforting pudding.

Chia seeds are often touted as a superfood. I have to agree. They are high protein, high fibre, gluten-free, packed full of omega 3 fatty acids, potassium, calcium, Vitamin C, iron and anti-oxidants, plus they help heal the digestive tract and stabilise blood sugar. Win!

Ingredients for four serves:

Two ripe pears; two apples; 2 tablespoons of water; 1 heaped teaspoon of cinnamon; zest of a lemon; juice of half a lemon; 2 teaspoons of natvia, honey, maple syrup or other sweetener of your choice; 2 heaped tablespoons of chia seeds; 1 and a half cups of water; coconut cream and a little extra maple syrup to serve.

Note: It’s also fine to use four pears or four apples, depending on what’s in your pantry or on your list of available foods if you are working with dietary restrictions.

Method:

Place the chia seeds and the cup and a half of water in a bowl. Stir and leave to swell for twenty minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid clumping. The seeds will absorb the water and produce a jelly-like substance. (Try not to think about the fact that right now it looks like a bowl of frog spawn!)

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Dice pears and apple. Add to a saucepan over medium heat with two tablespoons of water and the cinnamon, lemon zest and juice. Stir for a few minutes until the fruit softens. Now pour in the chia seed mixture, which will have a runny jelly-like consistency.

Stir well over medium heat until the mixture is thick and warm – about five minutes. Add a little sweetener to taste.

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Spoon into serving bowls and add a generous dollop of coconut cream. Drizzle a little maple syrup over the top.

Devour happily.

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Any leftovers can be stored in fridge for up to three days. Try spooning the mixture into glasses, layering with a little yogurt or coconut cream to enjoy cold tomorrow as a breakfast parfait. The pudding also reheats well. Just use gentle heat and add the coconut cream in before you heat it!

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Easy Berry Parfait Recipe

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“Some of the sweetest berries grow among the sharpest thorns.”
~ Scottish Proverb

 

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved parfaits. They’re so pretty with their layers of deliciousness! What’s even better about this dessert is that it’s healthy enough to eat for breakfast, and fancy enough to be served at Christmas Dinner.

This is such an easy recipe that kids can make it. (Making parfaits is fun.) If you’re letting them help, give them a small personal glass where they can make a ‘test’ parfait to eat in advance, like a chef’s reward. 🙂

 

Ingredients to serve 6 or 4 BIG serves:

2 heaped cups of mixed fresh or frozen berries, 2 tablespoons of caster sugar/superfine sugar or natvia, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cornflour (corn starch), 2 cups of your favourite yoghurt, 4 tablespoons of roasted coconut chips or toasted flaked almonds.

Glasses for parfaits – the choice is yours, but make sure your spoons can reach comfortably to the bottom of the glass, or there will be tears…

Today I’ve made some breakfast parfaits in short glasses, and some dessert parfaits in martini glasses. My berry mix included strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. My yoghurt? Greek passionfruit yoghurt for a little summery zip, and a parfait made with coconut milk yoghurt for a friend who is vegan.

If you’re dairy intolerant do try the coconut yoghurt or a good soy yoghurt.

Method:

Sort through your berries and wash. (Not necessary of they are frozen.) Drain, and chop any large berries into smaller pieces if required. Tip into a saucepan with the lemon juice and sugar.

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Squash the berries down a little with a potato masher to release some of their juice.

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Heat and stir for a few minutes so that the berries have broken down a little and the sugar has been dissolved. There should still be some whole berries in your pot.

Mix the cornflour with a tablespoon or so of cold water until it is smooth and milky. Dump into saucepan with berries and stir over medium heat for another minute until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Mixture will thicken more as it cools.

At this stage you can put mixture in an airtight container and keep in fridge up to one week if necessary. The berry mix will taste sweet and summery. It is also divine when spooned over ice-cream or ladled into little pastry cases with a dollop of cream and a few shavings of chocolate on top.

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To assemble your parfaits:

Have your glasses ready, along with some clean spoons.

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Start with a layer of berry mixture, placing it carefully so that it doesn’t drip down the sides of the glass. It’s better to work with a little at a time than big messy spoonfuls. If you do get a smudge, wipe it off with a piece of paper towel.

Now add a layer of yoghurt, again working slowly and neatly.

Another layer of berries, and then keep layering until you get to the top of the glass.

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Finish with a few whole berries or a splodge of yoghurt with a little more of the berry mix spooned into the centre of the splodge.

If you’re not ready to serve these yet, pop them back in the fridge.

Just before serving, sprinkle your toasted coconut chips or almond flakes over the top for a delicious crunch. The texture of the soft fruit and yoghurt with the crunchy bits is wonderful. Enjoy!

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Simple Baked Apple Recipe

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“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” ~ Martin Luther

Nothing says comfort food like a baked apple – easy to make and good for you too. Traditionally my Nana stuffed apples with a butter, sugar, oats and sultana or currant mixture.  My version still tastes sweet and delicious but is dairy, sugar and gluten free.  Trust me – no one will think any the lesser of you for omitting all that other stuff.  They’ll be too busy eating!  Soft sweet medjool dates and ginger give a lovely caramelly texture and zing, and walnuts – well it just wouldn’t be the same without them.

Ingredients: 1 x cooking apple per person – I like Granny Smith Apples for this; plus 2 medjool dates, a tablespoon of walnut halves, a piece of glace ginger and a squeeze of lemon juice per person.  Note: If there is still too much sugar in the glace ginger for you, trying adding a little extra date and some powdered ginger.

Method: Preheat oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit). Using a sharp knife or an apple corer, remove the core of the apple.  Then take a knife and run it around the circumference of the apple so that you just break through the skin.  This is important so that your apple doesn’t explode when it is cooking. Core your apples Chop your dates, ginger and walnuts and combine them in a bowl with the squeeze of lemon juice.  Mix them well together. Dates, ginger and walnuts Now press the mixture into the empty core of each apple.  Start by filling the bottom, pressing the mixture in firmly.  Then turn over and place into an oven-proof dish. (I find a piece of baking paper helps with easy clean-up.) Keep pressing filling into the core until it is filled to the top.  Mound a little extra over the hole, pressing down well. 2013-04-04 16.43.11 Bake in a moderate oven for 45 minutes. To serve, simply place in a bowl and eat.  They go very well with a dash of cream, custard, some yogurt (try coconut yogurt if you’re vegan or dairy free!) or a good ice-cream. Baked apples are a terrific dessert but do try them for a warm breakfast on a cold morning. Super Yum Delish! baked apple and cream

Coconut, Ginger and Cardamom Rice Pudding Recipe – Vegan

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Because my Power Word for 2013 is HEALTH, I’ve been modifying a few of my favourite recipes.

This creamy-sweet rice pudding has the added lusciousness of Indian spices, and is entirely dairy, gluten and cane-sugar free.  And it’s vegan to boot, for those of you who are lovers of plant-based diets.

It can be eaten warm or chilled, so it’s perfect for any time of the year.

Ingredients: 1 x 400ml can of coconut cream, 1/2 cup of rice of your choice, 12 green cardamon pods, an inch of freshly grated or finely chopped ginger root, 1/3 cup of palm sugar, raw honey or maple syrup (or to taste), pinch of salt.

Method:

Using a mortar and pestle, lightly crush the cardamom pods. You could also do this with the blade of a heavy knife. This releases the aromatic oils from the tiny seeds inside the pods.  If you are especially finicky you can pull out all the green pods, leaving just the seeds, but I never bother.  They soften up when you cook them, so you can either eat them or dig them out later.

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Tip your can of coconut cream into a large saucepan, and then use the empty can and add one and a half cans of water to the pot.

Grate your ginger and add the ginger and crushed cardamom to the pot, then bring to the boil.  Now slowly sprinkle in your rice, stirring well.  Let it boil for a minute or two and then bring your pot down to a slow simmer.  Stir every so often so it doesn’t stick on the bottom. It will take about 40 to 60 minutes for your pudding to cook, depending on how low you have your heat. (Add a little more water if needed.) Test the rice – if it is soft, and the mixture is thick and creamy, it is ready.

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Add in your sweetener, checking as you go, so you don’t add in too much. Then add a pinch of good salt and check that you are happy with the taste.

There is nothing more to be done except eat and enjoy!

Some of my favourite serving options include a spoonful of creamy coconut yogurt  (you can often find this in health food stores) over the top, and a little seasonal fruit.

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For a special occasion, layer it into a glass with some fresh or preserved fruit and a good yogurt, and top with some crushed pistachio or toasted crushed cashew nuts.

If you liked this recipe, you might want to try my:

Mandarin and Coconut Jelly Recipe

Healthy Breakfast Parfait Recipe

Here’s a sneak preview of the Breakfast Parfait, which you can use to inspire you about serving suggestions with your Coconut, Ginger and Cardamom Rice Pudding…

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